The FIFA World Cup in Russia narrowed its field down to four after this weekend following the conclusion of the quarterfinals. With the group slimming down, the possibility of the Penn FC Connection final remains intact.
Penn FC has two connections remaining in the 2018 FIFA World Cup as Romu Peiser’s France and Harri Hawkins’ England both made the tournament semifinals.
Uruguay’s top scorer Edinson Cavani missed the quarterfinal matchup with a calf injury and the team was unable to sustain its attack against an oppressive French defense. Les Bleus simply overpowered the South American side as Raphaël Varane and Antoine Griezmann notched goals and cruised to a 2-0 victory.
Now, France must face a Belgium side that earned a 2-1 victory over one of the tournament favorites Brazil -- knocking out Tiago Calvano and Paulo Junior’s home country.
Adding to the intrigue of the matchup between the rival nations that share a border, Belgium and France face each other in the World Cup for the first time since the 1986 third place match -- which France won 4-2. Contrary to the recent record, Belgium holds the all-time record over France with a record of 30-24-19.
Football seems more likely to come home after England earned a stirring 2-0 win against Sweden thanks to goals from Harry Maguire and Dele Alli. The Three Lions are lethal on set pieces as Gareth Southgate’s squad borrowed concepts taken from the NBA to show new wrinkles in the tournament.
England faces off with Croatia for a place in the World Cup Final. After edging Denmark in penalties, Croatia survived another shootout against hosts Russia. This is the farthest Croatia has advanced in the World Cup since the 1998 tournament in France, where the team lead by Davor Šuker placed third. However, Croatia’s fitness may be in question as the side played back-to-back matches that went to penalty kicks.
Both recent and overall history in the fixture favors England as they have a 4-2-1 record against Croatia. The Three Lions won the last two matchups with an aggregate score of 9-2. Of course, those matches were in the qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, and none of the current England members played in those matches.
Regardless of who ends up in the final, Penn FC will be hosting a World Cup watch parties on July 15th. With lunch and drinks available, the final match will be displayed in the Select Medical Digital Cinema in the Whitaker Center. Tickets are available on the Whitaker Center website. Fans can also attend a watch party at Mr. G’s Sports Bar which will feature food and drink specials.